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Admission to the
Theatre Program

An AUDITION or PORTFOLIO REVIEW is required for admission to the Theatre Major in the School of Theatre and Dance. 

The School of Theatre and Dance at JMU requires a gateway process for admission to the Theatre Major that reflects the applicant's interest and abilities.  In addition to presenting material, each applicant interviews with the gateway committee.

Applicants most interested in performance present an audition, those directed toward design and theatre technology present a portfolio for review, and those interested in theatre studies (including theatre history, dramaturgy, theatre criticism, playwriting, directing, devising, and management) and theatre education (teacher licensure) present a portfolio of examples and records of their work.  These four areas represent the different Concentrations within the Major.  Each Concentration requires and recommends particular courses, and students within a Concentration receive priority placement in its range of courses, although any Theatre major is eligible to take any theatre course for which they have completed the prerequisite course(s).  The gateway process for admission to majors occurs in the sophomore year but may be influenced by the quality of an applicant's audition/portfolio review/interview for admission.




While you do not need to have applied to the university prior to scheduling an appointment you MUST have applied to the university by the appropriate deadlines listed, AND before attending the audition.

Saturday, November 14, 2015
(for prospective Fall 2016 admit freshman, current JMU prospective Spring 2016 program admit students, and prospective Spring 2016 admit transfer students from other institutions.)

Saturday, January 16, 2016 
(for prospective Fall 2016 admit freshman)

Saturday, January 30, 2016
(for prospective Fall 2016 admit freshman)

Monday, February 15, 2016
(for prospective Fall 2016 admit freshman)

Saturday, March 19, 2016
(for current JMU students and prospective Fall 2016 admit transfer students from other institutions. Please note this date is not yet open for registration. Please check back for more information.)



Please click on any of the dates above to register for an audition to the theatre program.

Note that the gateway process (audition/ interview) is also used to determine offers of scholarships available to freshmen. We do not currently offer scholarships to transfer or continuing JMU students when admitted to the Theatre or Musical Theatre Majors.  However, students admitted to the majors are able to apply for continuing student scholarships in the spring of each year.

Prospective students may elect to be considered for BOTH the Musical Theatre & Theatre Programs when registering for their audition appointment.

Students who wish to be considered for both programs should select the option “Musical Theatre (Performance) & Theatre (Performance or Technical Theatre)."  You should prepare the audition requirements for both the Theatre program and the Musical Theatre program if auditioning in both areas. Please note that the Musical Theatre program audition is only for students wishing to pursue Musical Theatre performance, not technical theatre. Students who are only interested in studying design/technology, theatre studies or theatre education should select Theatre Only (including Technical Theatre).

VTA Audition Attendees: Although JMU faculty representatives will be in attendance and look forward to seeing your audition at the Virginia Theatre Association (VTA – conference in October, 2015, an onsite audition/ interview is necessary for admission and scholarship consideration. 


Please note: Admission to JMU itself involves online application directly to the undergraduate Office of Admissions.  Although you may schedule your audition/portfolio review/interview before completing the application for academic admission to the University, you must complete the application for academic admission BEFORE your audition/portfolio review/interview.

JMU Application Deadlines are as follows:

Freshman Early Action (non-binding) application deadline: Nov. 1, 2015
Freshman Regular Decision application deadline: January 15, 2016
Transfer Student application deadlines:

                             Spring admit October 15, 2015

                             Fall admit March 1, 2016

Go to: to access the JMU online application.

Audition/Portfolio Review/Interview Requirements:

For acting-focused applicants: Prepare and memorize two one-minute contrasting monologues (comedy and drama) from modern or classical plays. Both may be from modern plays; at least one must be. Choose characters fairly close to your own age and avoid dialects and accents. Material may be either in prose or verse.  Please do not present a monologue from a musical or an unpublished play.

For design/tech-focused applicants, bring a portfolio of your work (designs, photos, renderings, plots, drafting, etc., as appropriate) and be prepared to discuss it.

For theatre study-focused applicants, bring examples of your work that you believe represent your interest and ability (essays on plays or performances, plays you have written, other writing samples, director's notebooks, dramaturgical research, records of work in productions, work in related fields, records of productions directed, prompt books, etc.).

For theatre education-focused applicants, bring examples of your work that you believe represent your interest and ability (lesson plans or descriptions of classes taught, descriptions of leadership or educational guidance such as directing children’s shows or assistant directing, statement of teaching philosophy and reasons for wishing to pursue theatre education, essays on plays or performances, plays you have written, other writing samples, records of work in productions, work in related fields, records of productions directed, prompt books, etc.).

Please bring to your audition/review/interview the following:

1.   A current resume of performing and/or theatrical experience.

(click here to download a sample resume template

2.   A current photo of yourself.

3.   A copy of your high school or college (in the case of transfer students) transcript, including courses in which you are currently enrolled. This does not need to be an official transcript; a photocopy is acceptable.

4.   One letter of recommendation from a director or teacher familiar with your work in theatre. Please do not bring or have sent additional letters of recommendation.

5.   A 1000 word or less, type-written essay discussing why you want to join the Theatre Concentration at JMU and how you think the BA Theatre program at JMU will help you meet your academic and professional goals.

Important Additional Information
James Madison University Theatre Concentration
Audition/Portfolio Review/Interview Recommendations

Keep each monologue short and to the point.  One minute may not seem like a long time, but you would be surprised how much you can communicate.  Quality, not quantity, is the key.  Please time your material.  If your monologues run much over two minutes total you may be cut off.   

Even if you do find a monologue in a monologue book, make sure to read the entire play.  Do not use monologues written for audition purposes for which no play exists.

Choose material suitable for performers of your age.  Avoid material written for a character significantly older or younger than yourself, as well as pieces that use dialects.  We want to get a sense of who you are.

All material must be memorized.

Introduce your pieces with play title, author, and character name.  Background on scene or plot is unnecessary.

We recommend you find someone to assist in preparing your monologues.

For performers in particular, wear clothing that is neat, comfortable, flattering, and that you feel good wearing.  We suggest that women avoid extremely high heels that may hinder movement.    

Organize your portfolio in a logical way that clarifies your particular contribution to a show and what your abilities and accomplishments are.  Arrange images and information in ways that show off your work to the best advantage.  If possible, show documents that were part of the process of making the work (design drawings, drafting, process photos, etc.) as well as photos of the finished product.

Present written and visual examples of your work (for general theatre study applicants) in a clear, easily readable, and organized manner.  Clarify contexts of the work (the class/assignment/show/etc. for which the work was done and other pertinent information).  Also, bind or contain the work in page protectors, a folder, or report cover of some kind that holds pages in place.  Make sure, of course, that your name is on your work.

For all applicants, in the interview be prepared to discuss your work in theatre, your other interests, your career hopes and plans, and your interest in JMU and the JMU theatre program.  Interviews follow auditions and portfolio reviews and are central to theatre generalist applications.

Be yourself and have fun.  Remember that we want you to do your best!

For information about admission into the
Musical Theatre Program, click HERE 

College of Visual and Performing Arts
Accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Dance
Accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Theatre